Bolstered by new developments and creative energy, Fort Worth has been named to Travel & Leisure’s 50 Best Places to Travel in 2021. This national recognition was a top goal for Visit Fort Worth and its New York-based agency, Quinn PR.
Calling out “a walloping dose of Texas heritage – with some luxe, modern updates,” the magazine highlighted the Stockyards’ new Mule Alley and Hotel Drover, the artists’ collective Art Tooth and the city’s newest boutique property, Hotel Dryce in the Cultural District.
“When the time comes to travel again, these destinations – all right in your own backyard – are the ones to visit next,” Travel & Leisure stated.
“This is a major recognition of the visionary investment in a western renaissance as well as the young, creative Funkytown energy we see through art, music and film,” said Bob Jameson, president and CEO of Visit Fort Worth.
The listing is Fort Worth’s first time to appear on T&L’s top 50.
Visit Fort Worth’s efforts alongside public relations agency Quinn PR helped land the city in the top 20. Pitching efforts for the last five years have developed important relationships with national media.
Visit Fort Worth has focused storytelling and positioning on the city’s diverse arts scene, food and dining and major developments in tourism districts.
Travel is an economic driver for the city. Before COVID-19, Fort Worth’s hospitality industry employed more than 24,000 and supported local businesses with a $2.6 billion economic impact.
There will be a prescribed burn of the BRIT prairie at 2 p.m. Jan. 13. The prairie is at the corner of Trail Drive and University Drive.
The event represents multiple organizations collaborating for numerous scientific, educational and community benefits.
“This burn serves many purposes, but from our perspective, the most important is changing cultural mindsets toward acceptance of prescribed burning in Fort Worth parks, urban areas, Dallas-Fort Worth and throughout the state,” said Daniel Price, natural resource manager with the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge.
The Fort Worth Fire Department will be on scene to ensure safety of the participants. The FWFD wildland team has traveled nationally to respond to wildfires on the West Coast. The highly trained team will use this prescribed burn as a way to educate the attending organizations on the role they play in wildland management and the importance of regulating and managing wildlife refuge locally.
For the Fort Worth Botanic Garden/Botanical Research Institute of Texas (FWBG|BRIT), the prescribed burn represents an opportunity for scientists and educators who will use resulting data for research and teaching.
“The science initiatives that drive a prescribed burn will allow our program designers to use collected plant and soil data, along with photos and videos, to create new, exceptional educational programming,” said Tracy Friday, vice president for education with FWBG|BRIT. Friday said that the prescribed burn also gives students and teachers the chance to view the event through an environmental STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- lens.
Other partners involved in the planned prescribed burn are U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas Prescribed Fire Council.
Both Price and Friday agreed that the prescribed burn will help inform naturalists, researchers, educators and others. “The most important thing to remember is that ecological impacts from prescribed burning are not accomplished by just one burn,” Price said. “It will take multiple burns and perhaps a decade or more before any positive ecological changes are made.”
The event will be livestreamed on the Fort Worth Fire Department Facebook page beginning at 2 p.m. Wednesday. FWBG|BRIT will launch a watch party of that feed.
Dennis Shingleton announced he will not seek a sixth term as District 7 councilmember.
Shingleton, 74, was elected in 2011. Shingleton played an active leadership role serving as mayor pro tem and on several city committees, including the Fort Worth Sports Authority and Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. Before representing District 7 as a councilmember, Shingleton served on the City Planning Commission for nine years and chaired it for five years.
“It has been an incredible honor and privilege to serve the residents of District 7 and all of Fort Worth,” Shingleton said. “Together, working alongside residents and businesses from all parts of the community, we have made incredible strides and built a stronger Fort Worth with opportunity for all.”
Throughout his tenure on City Council, Shingleton was known for his common-sense approach and ability to bring people together to find solutions for even the most difficult issues. During his 10 years on the Council, Shingleton advocated for fiscal responsibility, strategic growth and economic development through several role, including chairing both the Texas Motor Speedway and Trinity River Vision Tax Increment Finance districts.
Shingleton helped cut property tax rates without impacting critical city services, supporting efforts that resulted in lowering the city’s tax rate 12 cents in four years. Shingleton played an active role in stabilizing the city’s pension fund, protecting both city employees and taxpayers.
A steadfast supporter of the business community and neighborhoods, Shingleton was able to balance the demands of rapid growth that Fort Worth experienced as the 13th largest city in the nation and one of the fastest growing big cities in the nation. Most notably, Shingleton played an integral role in an unprecedented public-private partnership that resulted in the construction of Dickies Arena. Shingleton continued to oversee the operations of the world-class multipurpose arena, serving on the board of directors. In bringing the arena online, Shingleton shepherded the reconstruction of Montgomery Street as the entryway to Fort Worth’s world-renowned Cultural District.
As a previous neighborhood association president, Shingleton recognizes the importance of strengthening diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. From advocating for additional parks to improving infrastructure in and around neighborhoods, Shingleton prioritized public safety and supported efforts to ensure safer communities.
“It is my hope the next District 7 Councilmember brings a fresh perspective and a passion for service, strengthening our neighborhoods and serving the residents of Fort Worth,” Shingleton said. “District 7 is incredibly diverse with active and engaged residents and businesses. The next representative has an extraordinary opportunity to continue supporting our community and everything that makes Fort Worth an incredible place to live and work.”
Beyond City Hall, Shingleton was an active member of the community, volunteering his time in several capacities. A retired U.S. Army Colonel, Shingleton served as a member of the NAS/JRB Regional Coordination Committee. Shingleton remains the assistant tournament chair for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial, leading efforts to host the event as the first PGA tournament to return to the schedule in 2020.
Shingleton will retire alongside his wife, Cindy, in Fort Worth, where they have called home for more than 30 years. They have three children and 12 grandchildren.
Due to the ongoing public health emergency and limits on large gatherings, B.A.S.S. officials moved the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo from late March to June 11-13.
“Our team will be working with the Fort Worth Sports Commission and Visit Fort Worth to make this historic trip to Texas an incredible and memorable event,” said B.A.S.S. Chairman Chase Anderson. We are so appreciative of Fort Worth officials and our hosts at Visit Fort Worth for working with us during these unprecedented times to reschedule this exciting event and ensure we have an outstanding Classic.”
For more than 50 years, the iconic Bassmaster Classic has been the premier tournament in sportfishing. Recent Classics held in Birmingham, Ala., and Knoxville, Tenn., have drawn record-breaking crowds of 122,814 and 153,809 fans, respectively, to Classic Week events, including the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo.
“Hosting the Bassmaster Classic later this spring will bring jobs and much-needed business to our local economy,” said Jason Sands, director of the Fort Worth Sports Commission. “We are looking forward to hosting anglers and the thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and Bassmaster fans this world-class sporting event attracts.”
The move from an early spring tournament to June is a throwback to previous events. From its inaugural outing in 1971 until 1983, the Bassmaster Classic was held in the fall. The Super Bowl of Bass Fishing became a summer event in 1984 but shifted to February and March in 2006, the first season of the Bassmaster Elite Series.
Residents may submit questions for the six Fort Worth police chief finalists until Jan. 13, ahead of a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Fort Worth Convention Center Ballroom, 1201 Houston St.
Send comments for city management and questions for the candidates via FWConnection.
The six police chief finalists were selected from a pool of more than 50 applicants. Strategic Government Resources conducted a national search for the new police chief. Learn more about the candidates.
At the Jan. 14 community meeting, there will be plenty of room for social distancing, and COVID-19 protocols will be in place. The meeting will also be carried live on FWTV, the city’s website and social media.
Mayor Betsy Price, Fort Worth’s longest-serving mayor, announced Tuesday that she will not seek re-election.
Price said deciding not to seek re-election was a difficult decision, but she said she intends to spend more time with her grandchildren. She said she will remain active in community affairs – she is sometimes called the Energizer Bunny for her seemingly endless energy – but did not mention any particular roles she hopes to fill.
View Price’s news conference announcing her decision.
Price, a Fort Worth native, was elected in 2011 as the 44th mayor. In 2019, she was re-elected to a historic fifth term; when she steps down this summer, she will be the longest-serving mayor of Fort Worth, the 13th largest U.S. city.
Since taking office, Price has initiated a broad agenda that emphasizes economic development, stronger education, public safety, improved mobility and efficiency at City Hall.
Price and the City Council have lowered the city’s tax rate by 12 cents since 2012. Even with lower taxes, she worked to close a $45 million city budget gap in 2011 and delivered a balanced budget that continued to provide essential services to residents.
In addition, she secured the city’s pension fund without state intervention, and worked to improve productivity at City Hall to realize savings in processes, time and money— all while boosting customer service levels.
Price made significant strides along the path toward her vision of a healthy and engaged city. Fort Wort is the largest U.S. city to be certified by the Blue Zones Project, an international wellness initiative. FitWorth is another citywide wellness program she fostered.
During her tenure, Price worked closely with local school districts to ensure companies can draw on well-trained personnel in the future. She believes Fort Worth’s economy is linked to well-prepared young people who are ready to enter the workplace. Read Fort Worth is an initiative that pushes for every third-grade student to read on grade level by 2025.
Price said she is particularly proud of the way younger residents have stepped up through Steer Fort Worth and other programs to become the city’s future leaders.
Fort Worth’s 45th mayor will be elected on May 1. Campaign filing for municipal elections begins Jan. 13.
Residents can meet the finalists for Fort Worth police chief at a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Fort Worth Convention Center Ballroom, 1201 Houston St.
The six finalists were selected from a pool of more than 50 applicants. Strategic Government Resources conducted a national search for the new police chief.
Learn more about the candidates.
At the community meeting, there will be plenty of room for social distancing, and COVID-19 protocols will be in place. The meeting will also be carried live on FWTV, the city’s website and social media.
Residents may submit comments for city management and questions for candidates via FWConnection until Jan. 13.
COVID-19 vaccination distribution is on the uptick in Fort Worth, with many area residents eager to get the shot. Vaccine distribution began several weeks ago to hospitals, freestanding ERs, EMS providers, pharmacies, local health departments, medical practices, long-term care facilities and other types of providers.
To meet the rising demand for the vaccine here locally, Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) has a newly-created online portal that eligible residents can use to easily register for a no-cost vaccine.
TCPH will determine if you qualify for a vaccination at this time and then send you an email regarding your eligibility status. Keep in mind that sign-up confirmations are emailed out once a day, so it could take up to 48 hours to receive a response, especially with demand being as high as it is, TCPH says.
The coronavirus vaccine currently is in limited supply, but quantities are expected to increase over the coming months as manufacturing and distribution ramp up. Residents are encouraged to pre-register on the website now so that the county can better plan for and distribute the vaccine as we move forward.
“We understand that there has been some confusion about the vaccine availability and we are doing our best to get the most accurate and current information out to residents,” said Brandon Bennett, City of Fort Worth Health officer and code compliance director. “Distribution of this size is not something that is done on a regular basis and the city is supporting Tarrant County as they try to get the vaccine to as many residents as possible.”
A tiered system is in place to prioritize distribution. Health care and first responders are at the top so that they can care for the sick and help with mass vaccinations without facing health risk to themselves or others. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has information on the criteria used for vaccination priority on their main vaccination page. You can also find a list of other vaccination locations throughout the state on their website.
As for safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, data culled in large-scale clinical trials and reviewed by FDA scientists show that the vaccines are safe and effective in preventing the spread of the virus. Get more information on the vaccine process in Tarrant County.
The Fort Worth Convention Center and the Will Rogers Memorial Center have received the STAR Facility accreditation status from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities.
“GBAC accreditation is the gold standard of prepared facilities,” said Mike Crum, director of public events for the City of Fort Worth. “Meeting planners will find that we have gone the extra mile to assure their event attendees have as safe an experience as possible while in our buildings.”
GBAC accreditation means that a facility has:
Established and maintained a cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention program to minimize risks associated with infectious agents like the novel coronavirus.
The proper cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques and work practices in place to combat biohazards and infectious disease.
Highly informed cleaning professionals who are trained for outbreak and infectious disease preparation and response.
“As the operations team has gone through the rigorous GBAC application process, we’ve been able to create and enhance our cleaning protocols,” said Cynthia Serrano, acting general manager of the Fort Worth Convention Center. “We’ve also developed new methodologies for our team to expand how we evaluate what is clean and safe.”
For example, technicians are deploying the use of an adenosine triphosphate meter, used widely by janitorial experts, to obtain readings on the cleanliness of the building. By doing this in-house, they are able to target high-traffic areas and increase frequency of disinfecting where and when needed.
Touch points are the most significant places for bacteria transfer and virus spread. Will Rogers and the convention center have reduced as many touch points as possible in restrooms by installing auto-flush toilets and urinals, automatic sink faucets and auto-dispensing equipment for soap, sanitizer and paper towels.
Bipolar ionization systems were also installed. This process involves releasing ionized particles (molecules with a positive/negative charge) that will attach to and deactivate harmful substances like bacteria, mold, allergens and viruses at the molecular level. The result is cleaner and healthier air.
“We always had a high standard, but now we are sanitizing for safety as well as cleaning for aesthetics,” said Kevin Kemp, general manager of Will Rogers Memorial Center.
As part of the requirement for accreditation, 18 Public Events Department employees also received a GBAC Trained-Technician certification. Individuals earning the certification are trained in planning, knowledge and processes needed to respond to a biohazard crisis in the workplace. They also mastered preventive, response and contamination control measures for infectious disease outbreak situations such as COVID-19.
“Team members earning the GBAC designation bring increased value to our clients because they have shown a commitment to safety, excellence and continuous learning,” Kemp said.
Interested parties may provide feedback on redistricting criteria and procedures during an upcoming series of virtual public meetings.
In 2016, Fort Worth voters approved an amendment to the City Charter to increase the number of City Council members from nine to 11 following the completion of the 2020 Census. The Task Force on Race and Culture in December 2018 recommended the goal of ensuring that the City Council reflects the diverse communities that it represents. The City Council appointed an 11-member Redistricting Task Force.
At 6 p.m. Jan. 4, Assistant City Manager Fernando Costa and Task Force Chair Lorraine Miller will present Redistricting 101, an opportunity for residents to learn more about redistricting. The session will be available on FWTV, the city’s website and Facebook. Submit questions before the broadcast.
Public meetings on redistricting will be conducted via Webex at 6 p.m. each of these evenings:
Jan. 19. *
The meetings will provide an opportunity to find out more about the redistricting task force and redistricting guidelines. The meeting on Jan. 19 will be conducted in Spanish.
Any member of the public who wishes to address the task force during these public hearings may sign up to speak no later than 5 p.m. on the day of the meeting. To sign up, email Fort Worth Connection or call 817-392-6248.
About the Redistricting Task Force
In August 2020, the City Council charged the task force with: “Evaluating the criteria and procedures by which the City Council has redrawn Council district boundaries in the past and, accordingly, advising the City Council about redistricting criteria and procedures that the City Council should use in the future.”
In December, the task force presented an interim report on findings to the City Council. Ten key criteria were listed. The task force also suggested that software training be provided to residents who are interested in the redistricting process, and that proposed redistricting plans submitted by residents be analyzed and presented to the City Council.
The group is urging transparency in the redistricting process by potentially requiring all map drawing to occur at public meetings, with computer screens visible to all parties.
Upcoming activities for the Redistricting Task Force:
Feb. 4, 2021, 3 p.m. The task force will discuss comments from the public meetings and reach agreement on final recommendations.
March 2, 2021, 3 p.m. The task force will present its final report to the City Council.
March 16, 2021, 7 p.m. The City Council will adopt a resolution accepting the final report.
All meetings of the Redistricting Task Force are open to the public.
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